4 November 2010, Lyon. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, attended the 2010 edition of the World Entrepreneurship Forum held in Lyon, France, earlier this month. This annual event gathers more than 100 personalities, from more than 50 countries, to share best and continuously renewing practices and to promote entrepreneurship and social justice on a global scale.
In 2009, at last year’s forum, Sir Fazle was awarded the first ever ‘Entrepreneur for the World’ Award in the ‘Social Entrepreneur’ category. He was invited to be a guest speaker at the ‘Learning from Entrepreneurs’ conference at this year’s event.
In his speech at the EMLYON Business School Campus, Sir Fazle shared his insights on his concept on development of social entrepreneurship to fight against poverty, and about social entrepreneurs’ acting and working as “global citizens”.
Sir Fazle commends the “emerging group of business entrepreneurs, whose bottom line is not single but triple” in creating “societal, environmental and stakeholder value”, along with the “social entrepreneur driven by the need to take actions and whose economic, social and environmental impact always results in greater social good”.
The World Entrepreneurship Forum is the first global think tank dedicated to entrepreneurs, creators of wealth and social justice, founded by EMLYON Business School and KPMG.
Photo Copyright (c) EMLYON business school
8 November 2010, Dhaka. As a part of the national level campaign on ultra poverty reduction, BRAC Advocacy Unit has successfully completed the week long ‘Inter College Debate Competition 2010 Dhaka’ (from November 2 to November 8) on ultra poverty issues at the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
On November 8, we hosted the final debate between Dhaka College and Dhaka Commerce College which was followed by a grand closing ceremony. The topic of the final debate was “Exact budgetary allocation will best contribute to alleviate extreme poverty.” Dhaka College came out as the champions and Dhaka Commerce College became the runners up of the competition beating 14 other renowned colleges from the city. Nahian Bin Khaled from Dhaka College was voted ”Best Speaker.”
The week long event full of logic, argument, agreement, disagreement and rebuttal came to an end following a grand closing where Suranjit Sengupta, Co-chair, Constitutional Amendment Committee & Chair, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry was present as the Chief Guest and Sheepa Hafiza, Director, Gender Justice & Diversity and Advocacy, BRAC chaired the session. Professor Ainun Nishat, Vice Chancellor, BRAC University, Professor Sirajul Islam, President, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Professor Mafuza Khanam, General Secretary, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh and Mr. Abu Syed Khan, Executive Editor, the Daily Somokal were present as the Special Guests in the session. The guests highlighted BRAC’s contribution in extreme poverty reduction of our country. They also appreciated our initiatives to mobilise the youth in favour of the ultra poor through a scholarly tool like debate.
To increase youth participation in favour of the ultra poor, BRAC Advocacy Unit regularly organises quizzes, seminars and debates at grassroots to national level. This debate competition was another step to reach the youth group.
At the end of the debate a student forum titled "Poverty Alleviation Forum" was formed with the debaters from 16 colleges along with some members from Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS) who will actively work on ultra poverty issues.
BRAC Advocacy Unit intends to take the students of the forum to field visits in order to get firsthand knowledge about the ultra poor. They will then carry out dialogue sessions and issues based activities on ultra poverty and thus contribute in the ultra poverty reduction of the country. We strongly believe such involvements in a national agenda will engage the students as ambassadors of social change both at family and community level.
03 November 2010, Dhaka. We had a grand opening of ‘Inter College Debate Competition 2010, Dhaka’ at the Asiatic Society premises which was followed by a colourful rally. Professor Dr. A.A.M.S. Arefin Siddique of Dhaka University inaugurated the programme while Rashed Khan Menon, MP and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee for Education was present as the Chief Guest.
Professor Sirajul Islam, Chairman Asiatic Society, Professor Mafuza Khanam, General Secretary, Asiatic Society and Mr. Sishir Shil, Secretary General; all Party Parliamentary Group were present as Special Guests in the Opening Ceremony. All the speakers highlighted BRAC’s contribution in extreme poverty reduction of our country. They also appreciated our initiatives to mobilise the youth in favour of the Ultra Poor through a scholarly tool like debate. BRAC Advocacy Unit honoured the guests with complementary crests.
At the very first day of the debate competition, four parliamentary debates were held among eight renowned colleges and madrasas of the city. All the topics were focused on ultra poor issues like gender equality, social justice, pro-poor budgeting and other similar issues.
02 November 2010, Dhaka. Today’s student is tomorrow’s leader. They can immensely contribute for the development of the country. Realising their potential BRAC Advocacy Unit seeks to mobilise Youth Groups in favour of the Ultra Poor. With a view to informing the students about the poverty situation and the ultra poverty scenario of Bangladesh and to sensitise them to take constructive initiatives for poverty reduction, the Advocacy Unit regularly organises Quizzes, Seminars and Debates from the grassroots to the national level. As a part of national level campaign we are going to organise ‘Inter College Debate Competition 2010, Dhaka’ on the ultra poverty issue from the 2nd of November to the 8th of November, 2010 at Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 16 renowned colleges from the city are going to Participate in this event. Some active members of Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS) are helping us to organise this event. The opening ceremony will be held on the 3rd of November, 2010 and the closing session will commence on November 08, 2010. For the occasion we organised a Press Conference at the Auditorium of Asiatic Society on November 02, 2010. Thirty reporters from both electronic and print media were present there. We strongly believe such involvement in a national agenda like Ultra Poverty will engage the students as ambassador of social change both at family and community level.
17 September 2010, Dhaka. Almost 21 million people are now reported as having been directly affected by the devastating floods in Pakistan. With 23 out of 94 BRAC Pakistan’s microfinance branches affected by the flooding, BRAC is close to the people and communities that have been suffering as the disaster began to unfold in July.
“The rains started on July 28th and within the weekend 9 out of 12 of our microfinance branches were flooded,” said Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC. He noted that “As a NGO that originated in Bangladesh, we are very familiar with floods and cyclones. We have worked on emergencies for many years. In Pakistan BRAC started relief work immediately. People had lost everything and they needed us to help them.”
BRAC Pakistan launched relief efforts using its institutional knowledge of emergency relief, and its network of community volunteers to identify and provide support to communities in greatest need benefiting over 200,000 people.
As the flood waters recede, rebuilding the lives of those who have most suffered will be the primary focus of the BRAC partnership with the American Pakistan Foundation.
Mr. Awais Khan, CEO of the American Pakistan Foundation, said “We want to ensure that people recover their assets and their ability to earn an income so they can regain their dignity. We are confident that our partnership with BRAC is a great step towards this recovery effort.”
The American Pakistan Foundation will be supporting BRAC, through its U.S. affiliate BRAC USA, to start livelihood recovery efforts across three districts in the Khyber Pakhtunwa province of Pakistan. The program will enable 200 households, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalized, who have been completely devastated by the disaster, to recover their assets and livelihoods.
Susan Davis, President & CEO of BRAC USA, stated that “BRAC is committed to working with the flood affected communities and for Pakistan’s development.” She said, “We are very pleased to partner with the American Pakistan Foundation, because of its deep and long term commitment to the country.” Ms. Davis added that “BRAC USA encourages people to join this partnership and text BRAC to 20222 to give $10 through their cell phone. We hope to work together to mobilize wider support and empathy for the plight of those suffering from conflict and disaster, and generate greater action.”
BRAC, the largest non-profit in the developing world, was launched in Bangladesh in 1972 and currently touches the lives of more than 138 million people through its programs addressing poverty including micro-loans, education, health services, self-employment opportunities and human rights education. BRAC has provided $6.7 billion in micro-loans to nearly eight million borrowers, mostly women, and created 9 million self-employment opportunities. BRAC’s 84,000 community health promoters have provided basic health services to nearly 100 million people. Currently, BRAC has programs in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Southern Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda.
BRAC began operations in Pakistan in 2007 through a microfinance program. It serves over 106,000 members in 94 branches. It has cumulatively disbursed $18 million in loans averaging $161 and has loans outstanding of $7.7 million. In addition to microfinance, BRAC now operates programs in health and education. Through its almost 1,000 staff, BRAC is currently serving about 437,465 people in 14 districts across four provinces.
BRAC USA is a 501(c)3 affiliate in New York. To learn more about BRAC, please visit www.bracusa.org.
About American Pakistan Foundation
Founded and led by Pakistani-Americans and friends of Pakistan at a critical moment in Pakistan's history, the American Foundation (APF) is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the social and economic condition of the people of Pakistan APF's mission is to expand development initiatives in education, public health, social entrepreneurship and poverty-alleviation with a vision to advance mutual understanding between the peoples of the US and Pakistan. APF is a focused effort on developing a secure and transparent channel for effectively mobilizing greater public and private resources from the Pakistani Diaspora and friends of Pakistan to expand the most credible and effective programs dedicated to Pakistan's social and economic development.
For more information, please visit www.americanpakistan.org.
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President and CEO
American Pakistan Foundation
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19 December 2010, Dhaka. An article titled “Deltas in Space: The Space Technology Comes Down to Earth” by Michael Van Der Mark came out in the Dutch Magazine called ‘Deltas in Times of Climate Change’. The article talks about space technology and water management technology and how cooperation between the two sectors can result in many benefits. Space technology predictions can help predict weather and its benefits can even reach everyday farmers with water availability forecasts. The article says organisations such as BRAC can reap benefits from space technology by better understanding variations of weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops. The following are a few extracts from the article:
One of the organizations that could benefit from the developments is BRAC, a large organization working to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh and nine other countries in South Asia, Africa and Haiti. Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, BRAC not only provides access to financial services but also to health, education, water and sanitation services. Dr Babar Kabir, BRAC’s Director for Water and for Disaster, Environment and Climate Change, explains that major challenges remain: “We need to ensure food security and reduce vulnerability to natural disasters. It is here that science (from satellite data downwards) can play a significant role, by providing early warnings and help us to better understand weather variability resulting from climate change.” Optimizing the hydrological data supply chain is important, says Dr Kabir, as it would link science to grassroots development: “Researchers have limited themselves to linking to academic institutions. They have ignored the strength of the NGOs and others who work for the development of the common people.” BRAC’s work focuses on the poor, especially women and children, and better understanding of variations in the weather through reliable and advanced predictions will mean less loss of lives and crops.
In the end it will be organizations like BRAC that will be able to issue better seasonal forecasts for local rice farmers, so that the premium on crop insurance can be reduced from four to three percent – a net gain of 25 percent!” Dr Kabir agrees. “Yes, definitely. Farmers, fishermen, small-scale private entrepreneurs – all will benefit. Given that the initial focus will be on weather forecasting and event predictions, the reliability of the data will be critical, whether it is to understand that a disaster is approaching or to provide very specific rainfall prediction. Tracking of the monsoon landfall is very important for agricultural activities in Bangladesh, as many crops are rain fed. Accurate rainfall prediction, when and how much, will help farmers to increase productivity. Once disaster prediction has been perfected, farmers can then be encouraged to engage in crop insurance.” Reliable data will mean that BRAC would be able to save on insurance premiums, enabling them to purchase data from the streamlined process. Nevertheless, Dr Kabir adds, “While BRAC is trying to develop its own expertise to understand the scientific data, it does not wish to duplicate efforts or expertise that already exists elsewhere. We need to find an easy way of coordinating both between and within the scientific community. We need data analysis based on client needs, and reports that are in non-scientific language.”
To read the full article please download :
12 December 2010, Kathmandu. BRAC was awarded the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) 2009 award in the category of Non Governmental Organisations for the Best Presented Accounts and Corporate Governance Disclosures.
Mr. S.N. Kairy, Director Finance & Accounts, received the award on behalf of BRAC at a ceremony held on Sunday, December 12, 2010 at the Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mr. Surendra Pandey, Honourable Minister for Finance, Government of Nepal was the chief guest of the event. BRAC previously received the SAFA Award for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
SAFA is a forum of professional accountancy bodies committed to developing the accountancy profession in the South Asian region. The Best Presented Accounts awards are conferred on the basis of evaluation administered by SAFA's Committee for improvement in transparency, accountability and governance of published annual reports of entities from South Asian countries.
12 December 2010, Dhaka. With a vow to instigate public private participation in Safe Migration Management as well as creating a good rapport with recruiting agencies for pro-migration services, BRAC Advocacy Unit’s Safe Migration Facilitation Centre (SMFC) and The National Alliance of Migrant’s Rights, Bangladesh (NAMR’B) jointly organised a seminar on “Public Private Participation in Safe Migration Management” with the support of Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) at the Auditorium of BRAC Centre today. Currently SMFC is acting as the secretariat of NAMR'B on national level lobbying, advocating and creating pressure for pro-migrant issues. To keep NAMR’B moving ahead with national migration issues was another agenda for organising this seminar which was divided into three sessions with different key presenters, chairs and panel discussants.
The first session was represented by the civil society, the second by the recruiting agencies and the final session was facilitated by the representatives from Bangladesh Government. SK. Mojibul Huq, Manager, BRAC Advocacy Unit was the moderator of the seminar.
Dr. Uttam Kumar Das, Deputy Director of South Asian Institute of Advanced Legal and Human Rights Studies (SAILS) presented the keynote paper of the first session titled “Safe Migration and Bangladesh: Potentials, Possibilities and Problems”. The keynote paper of the second session was prepared by Mr. Ali Haider Chowdhuri, Secratery General, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agency (BAIRA) and was presented by Radyan Rahave from BRAC Advocacy Unit titled “Migration & Economic Development: Declaration as Thrust Sector in Bangladesh”. In the final session, Mr. Kafayet Ullah, Deputy Secretary to Bangladesh Government presented the key note titled “Managing Safe Migration: Public Private Cooperation”.
All the three sessions were followed by open floor discussions where all the participants expressed their thoughts and views on the respective topics. From their argument some very valid and important recommendations came out which would contribute to facilitate very effective and efficient public private participation in Safe Migration Management.
Mr. Anisul Islam Mahmud, Honourable Member of Parliament and Chair to Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, was present as the Chief Guest in the seminar. Dr. Jafar Ahmed Khan, Honourable Secretary to Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) inaugurated the seminar. Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC welcomed all the participants from the Government, recruiting agencies and NGOs in the seminar.
09 December 2010, Dhaka. From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries, published by The University Press Limited was recently launched. The book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning about both the problems and the opportunities involved in effectively scaling up health programs.
The book is a collection of articles submitted to the International Conference on Scaling Up Health Programs, held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in December 2008. This edited volume is comprised of 17 chapters, two of which focus specifically on BRAC's efforts and successes in scaling up maternal health programs as well as the rural tuberculosis program.
In the foreword, Founder and Chairperson of BRAC, Sir Fazle Abed, writes, "the problems of poverty and disease are immense, therefore so should be the scale of the solutions." This edited-volume takes a deep look at many of the health care problems faced by the world's poorest, and provides a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities within the field.
From One to Many: Scaling Up Health Programs in Low Income Countries has been released in Bangladesh, Germany and Switzerland and was edited by:
06 December 2010, Dhaka. A Japanese translation of the book ‘Freedom From Want’ has been published by Kumarian Press, Sterling, Virginia through Tuttle-Mori Agency Inc., Tokyo. The original English edition was written by Ian Smillie and was published in 2009. Freedom From Want traces BRAC’s evolution from a small relief operation indistinguishable from hundreds of others, into what is undoubtedly the largest and most variegated social experiment in the developing world. BRAC’s story shows how social enterprise can trump corruption and how purpose, innovation and clear thinking can overcome the most entrenched injustices that society can offer.